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Primary Source Document Collections

Access to primary source document collections for studying history is one of the most exciting online opportunities.

K-12 students heretofore would not be able to peruse first-hand accounts, old news articles, maps and so much more without visiting real major archive collections in person.

larger image of https://calisphere.org/

image of https://calisphere.org/

Calisphere - University of California

Calisphere is the University of California's free public gateway to a world of primary sources. More than 200,000 digitized items — including photographs, documents, newspaper pages, political cartoons, works of art, diaries, transcribed oral histories, advertising, and other unique cultural artifacts — reveal the diverse history and culture of California and its role in national and world history.

larger image of http://vlib.iue.it/history/index.html

image of http://vlib.iue.it/history/index.html

World History Index and History Central Catalogue

Maintained by the European University Institute in Florence, Italy, this site indexes thousands of resources by country, era and topics. Need medical documents from World War One or a list of influential San Franciscans over the years, this is your resource.

larger image of http://quod.lib.umich.edu/m/moagrp/

image of http://quod.lib.umich.edu/m/moagrp/

Making of America

The Making of America at the University of Michigan is fascinating, because it ends with the turn of the 19th century. Prints and other such documents, heretofore in private stacks, have been placed online.

larger image of http://historicaltextarchive.com/

image of http://historicaltextarchive.com/

Historical Text Archive

Don Mabry's Historical Text Archive is one of the largest and best-cataloged collections.

larger image of http://elizabethan.org/

image of http://elizabethan.org/

Renaissance, The Elizabethan World

Explore the world of Elizabethan England. Includes information on...

  • Life At Court
  • Heraldry
  • Sumptuary Laws
  • Treason Trial
  • Book of Orders And Rules

On example of the use of source documents is with Sumptuary laws. In Elizabethan England, these laws attempted to restrict the sumptuousness of dress in order to curb extravagance, protect fortunes, and make clear the necessary and appropriate distinctions between levels of society. An instance where viewing one document ("show me") can have more impact than a 1/2 hour lecture ("tell me").

larger image of http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/index.html

image of http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/index.html

U.S. National Archives and Records Administration On-Line Exhibits

NARA, the U.S. National Archives and Record Administration,now called just Archives, has just begun to display its holdings, almost all of which cannot be found elsewhere. For starters look at the collection of WWII posters and often-cited but not in full documents like the Emancipation Proclamation and the Japanese Surrender at the end of WWII. Information about the relocation of many Japanese in the United States can also be found by visiting the Smithsonian site.

larger image of https://www.supremecourt.gov/

image of https://www.supremecourt.gov/

The United States Supreme Court

The official site for the U.S. Supreme Court includes slip opinions that are released on the day that a case is decided, volumes of all of the Court's published opinions since October 1991, and oral argument and briefing schedules for current cases. While text is still the mainstay of the Court, the technology is used for its in-depth and daily update capacities.

larger image of http://law2.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/ftrials.htm

image of http://law2.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/ftrials.htm

Famous Trials

Famous Trials looks at everything from the trial of Socrates (399 B.C.) to Susan B. Anthony (1873) to the Nuremberg Trials (1945-49)and the recent Zimmerman ("Trayvon Shooting") Trial (2013).

Each trial includes multiple documents, including items like a Chronology, newspaper articles, transcripts, exhibits and images to make these precedent-setting events come alive.

larger image of http://www.ourdocuments.gov/index.php?flash=true&

image of http://www.ourdocuments.gov/index.php?flash=true&

Our Documents

Our Documents is a collaboration among many archive agencies to provide wider access to key U.S. History expressions of turning points. Often, texts include excerpts of these primary sources but students will gain greater understandings if they can read the entire document. Graphical documents, such as the Great Seal and Edison's patent of the electric light bulb, are included in addition to the more familiar treaties. The scope also reflects the "whole" United States, such as the Hawaiian annexation, child labor and Chinese exclusion and creation of Japanese internment camps, act. Students can view aerial photographs of missiles in Cuba. Whatever the topic, the "original" can be included!

larger image of http://besthistorysites.net/

image of http://besthistorysites.net/

Best History Sites

Best History Sites, in addition to the above features, is frequently updated so that historical resources, not typically accessible, are handy. For instance, background resources about Iraq, a topic not often taught in school, have been posted.

larger image of http://spartacus-educational.com/

image of http://spartacus-educational.com/

Spartacus

For a comparison between British and U.S. views of historical events look at Spartacus.

larger image of http://www.angel-island.com

image of http://www.angel-island.com

Angel Island

Children of Chinese immigrants, housed at Angel Island in San Francisco Bay, are collecting memoirs so that slice of history will be preserved.

larger image of http://www.annenbergclassroom.org/

image of http://www.annenbergclassroom.org/

Annenberg Classroom

This website connects Annenberg's award-winning, comprehensive curriculum on the Constitution and its amendments to daily civics news and student discussion. Their nonpartisan writers sift through national and local news daily and select current events expressly for social studies classrooms.

And at least once a week, they write an article on a portion of this news with links to our multimedia curriculum. Use these "Speak Outs" in your class or have students interact online in a moderated, national dialogue with their peers.

larger image of http://cct2.edc.org/PMA/

image of http://cct2.edc.org/PMA/

Visions From History

EDC has prepared lessons for students to scrutinize historical photographs for acquiring interpretation skills. The selection is interesting and varied.

larger image of http://www.dhr.history.vt.edu

image of http://www.dhr.history.vt.edu

Digital History Reader

The Digital History Reader is a content- and inquiry-based for teaching European and American history with illustrative, multi-media downloads.

larger image of http://historicalthinkingmatters.org

image of http://historicalthinkingmatters.org

Historical Thinking Matters

Historical Thinking Matters is a collaboration between the Center for History and New Media at George Mason University and Stanford University's History Education group. The resources can be used flexibly and creatively.The site has 5 inquiries, among which is the Scopes Trial and Rosa Parks and the Montgomery Boycott.Each site poses a central question. Short movies, timelines, relevant text references, contrasting views, and primary source documents with analyses. Students can also maintain an interactive notebook with additional resources and guiding questions. Teacher materials and strategies with lesson plans and student work samples.

larger image of http://www.loc.gov/teachers/lyrical/

image of http://www.loc.gov/teachers/lyrical/

Lyrical Legacy: 400 Years of American Song and Poetry

Lyrical Legacy helps teachers explore eighteen American songs and poems from the digital collections of the Library of Congress. Each song and poem is represented by an original primary source document, along with historical background information and, in many cases, sound recordings and alternate versions.

larger image of http://www.gilderlehrman.org/history-by-era

image of http://www.gilderlehrman.org/history-by-era

History by Era

Annotated with teaching guides encourage the use of embedded social media features for collaborative learning.

larger image of http://www.loc.gov/teachers/professionaldevelopment/selfdirected/inquiry.html

image of http://www.loc.gov/teachers/professionaldevelopment/selfdirected/inquiry.html

Supporting Inquiry with Primary Sources

The Teachers' resources section at the Library of Congress includes resources like this for Professional Development.

The topics covered in this on-line module include:

  • Inquiry Overview
  • Primary Sources and Inquiry
  • Inquiry in Action

and takes about 1 hour to complete.

In some cases, completing this module counts as one hour of staff development.

larger image of https://www.loc.gov/collections/

image of https://www.loc.gov/collections/

Digital Collections

A list of the over 200 on-line collections maintained by the Library of Congress. You and your students can view maps & photographs; read letters, diaries & newspapers; hear personal accounts of events; listen to sound recordings & watch historic films.

larger image of http://gsp.yale.edu/

image of http://gsp.yale.edu/

Genocide Studies Program

Started as a study of the Cambodian Genocide , the Genocide Studies Program at Yale University explores what happened, why, and its aftereffects. Their research includes modern day events in Cambodia, Rwanda, and East Timor, as well as more historical events like the Nazi Holocaust, the genocides in Bosnia and Darfur, and on colonial and indigenous genocides.

The site includes a wide range of audio/video clips, bibliographies, databases, journal articles, maps and satellite images.

Not always an easy subject, but one that needs to be explored lest it happen again.

Unfortunately, using search engines to locate this type of information can return a million sites of varying quality.

Taking advantage of these well-cataloged sites and specialized databases will be far more efficient and valuable.

larger image of https://www.chicagohistory.org/educators/?cat=classroom-resources

image of https://www.chicagohistory.org/educators/?cat=classroom-resources

Chicago History Museum

The Chicago History Museum hosts an extensive collection of classroom resources covering curriculum for grades 1 through 12. The site includes both online and downloadable activities. Lesson plans span a variety of topics and meet a range of state learning standards.

This site focuses on Chicago and Illinois history. Check with museums near you to see what resources they have available on-line.

Other Areas To Check Out...

 •  ESL Resources
 •  Whole Books OnLine
 •  Photography Resources
 •  Treks and Primary Sources
 •  Teacher As Researcher
 •  Image Sources

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